Restaurant Spotlight: Citizen Pie
Citizen Pie | 2144 W 25th Street | Cleveland, OH
I consider myself a a bit of a pizza snob. For years I’ve been on a never-ending search to find something that could rival the pie I grew up on—the now defunct Musarra’s Tasty Pizza, formerly in Garfield Heights. So far, no such luck. Nevertheless, in my futile quest, I’ve become something of a pizza connoisseur. With that said, I was quite excited for Cleveland Pizza Week (October 21 – 27), which featured $8 pies at popular area eateries.
I went to two establishments early in the week to take part in the celebration. Unfortunately, I was left feeling a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the pizzas weren’t terrible, but they weren’t memorable either. I just had high expectations, especially in an area—Northeast Ohio—known for its quality pizza. Which brings us to this past Sunday. The Browns were dismal, per usual. I was hungry. It was the last day of Cleveland Pizza Week. What to do, what to do? My wife Tiffany made an executive decision—we, along with my mom, were headed to Citizen Pie in Ohio City.
Citizen Pie is a popular Neapolitan-style pizza shop with two locations—Collinwood and Ohio City—in Cleveland. Both spots employ a wood-fired oven that reaches 900 degrees and cooks pizzas in just 90 seconds. Their dough, carefully fashioned from flour, water, salt and starter, is fermented for 24 – 36 hours in boxes to perfect the ensuing crust.
The vibe in Citizen Pie’s Ohio City location is outstanding, because you genuinely feel like you’re in an old-school pizza joint. The restaurant features a diner-style counter/bar where guests can order, sit and/or watch their food get prepped and cooked; black-and-white tiled walls, retro lighting; and eclectic floor-to-ceiling wall decorations featuring the likes of Elvis, Joan of Arc, Albert Einstein, Spartacus, Martin Luther King Jr. and the New York Dolls.
The menu is comprised of calzones, red and white pizzas, salad pizzas, soft drinks, beer, wine and homemade soft serve ice cream. Citizen Pie featured two specials for Pizza Week—a 12-inch smoked pepperoni pizza and a 12-inch New York City-style pizza. We ordered one of each.
Both pies were delicious. What set Citizen Pie’s pizzas apart, especially from the ones I had earlier in the week, was the freshness of their ingredients. It’s easy to notice—and taste—the care that goes into crafting the dough each day, as the crust on both pizzas was light, airy and perfectly charred. The cheese and toppings were flavorful, and the sauce was evenly distributed throughout.
As for specials, there are plenty. Citizen Pie has a $10 pizza and pop lunch deal, available Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Happy hour is offered Tuesday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. and features $10 pizzas and $2 pints of Miller High Life. (How classic is that?) On Sundays, High Life pitchers are $5 all day.
Only two employees were present during our visit, and they did everything—take orders, serve drinks, cook pizza and cash out customers. Somehow, it worked. Kudos to both for their hospitality and work ethic. There is no parking lot, but plenty of street parking is available nearby. Citizen Pie is open six days a week, Tuesday through Saturday.
Rating Scale & Verdict
🍷🍷=Average 🍷🍷🍷=Good 🍷🍷🍷🍷=Excellent
🍷🍷🍷🍷 Overall, I was thoroughly impressed. The charm of Citizen Pie lies in its simplicity. It’s unpretentious and embraces what it is—a throwback pizza joint. Good prices, good vibes and good pizza … what else can a guy ask for (besides Tasty’s)? See you in Ohio City. Cheers!